Graphic and official release courtesy of WIN Magazine.
NEWTON, Iowa — Six members of the American wrestling community — four athletes, one coach and one photographer — have been honored with WIN Magazine awards for their accomplishments over the past year.
The award winners include:
- Jesse Mendez, Junior Hodge Trophy (nation’s most dominant high school wrestler)
- Shane Griffith, Mike Chapman Impact Award
- Jason Borrelli, Dan Gable Coach of the Year
- Jaydin Eierman, Schalles Award (nation’s top college pinner)
- Alex Facundo, Junior Schalles Award (nation’s top high school pinner)
- Tony Rotundo, Journalist of the Year
Junior Jesse Mendez was chosen as the winner of the 2021 Junior Dan Hodge Trophy, which is named after the late Dan Hodge, the three-time NCAA champion (1955-57) from Oklahoma University which is given each year by WIN to the nation’s most dominant high school wrestler. (The 2021 Dan Hodge Trophy, honoring the nation’s most dominant college wrestler, was presented in March to Iowa’s Spencer Lee and Minnesota’s Gable Steveson.
Mendez is a three-time state of Indiana champ from Crown Point (Ind.) High School and finished 34-0 this past winter at 138 pounds. He will also represent the United States this August at the UWW Junior World Championships in freestyle wrestling at 61 kilograms.
Shane Griffith became just the second Stanford wrestler to win an NCAA championship this past March when he claimed the 165-pound weight class as a No. 8 seed. But the sophomore and native of Westwood, N.J., also played a big part in Stanford’s decision to reinstate the wrestling program and the 10 other sports it had initially announced it was cutting last summer, initially saying that the 2020-21 wrestling season would be the last at the Pac-12 program. During the 2021 NCAAs, many fans chanted, “Keep Stanford Wrestling,” as Griffith and his fellow Cardinal wrestlers competed in St. Louis, Mo.
The Impact Award is named in honor of Mike Chapman, the founder of WIN Magazine and creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy, Junior Dan Hodge Trophy and the Dan Gable Wrestling Hall of Fame/National Wrestling Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.
Jason Borrelli spent the past 13 years at Stanford, but the head coach never faced anything like he did in 2021 as he led Shane Griffith and Real Woods to All-American honors and helped the Cardinal program finish 17th in the overall standings. This accomplishment came in what was supposed to be the final wrestling season at Stanford … and a season that did not begin until mid-January because the COVID-19 pandemic. Borrelli, whose coaching contract expired before the school announced in May that wrestling would continue, has now taken the head coaching job at American University.
The award is named in honor of Dan Gable, the legendary coach who led Iowa to 15 national team championships over a 20-year period (1978-97).
Jaydin Eierman wrestled this past winter at Iowa and finished second at 141 pounds in the national tournament after the senior from Columbia, Mo., transferred from Missouri, where he also earned three All-American honors. Because of the pandemic, the Hawkeye only wrestled 13 matches – going 12-1 – but pinned six of his victims and won a Big 10 championship. This came after he had 38 falls among his 89 victories at Missouri. Eierman, like most of the wrestlers on Iowa’s national championship team, will return in 2022.
The Schalles Award is named in honor of Wade Schalles, the former two-time (1972-73) NCAA champion from Clarion State (Pa.), where compiled a 153-6 record and pinned an NCAA-record 109 wrestlers in his career.
Alex Facundo won his fourth state of Michigan high school championship at Davison High School and pinned 16 wrestlers in going 25-0 on the season at 171 pounds. The former two-time Cadet World bronze medalist and future Penn State wrestler finished 164-4 in his career and tallied 74 career pins.
Tony Rotundo is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., where he was first introduced to the sport of wrestling in high school and college and eventually started coaching. But it wasn’t until he moved to San Francisco, Calif., where he took up photography nearly 20 years ago and eventually started WrestlersAreWarriors.com website, where fans can witness his work. He has also covered numerous national high school and college wrestling tournaments as a freelance photographer for numerous outlets in wrestling.
More in-depth stories of these award winners can be found in the recent WIN Magazine, which was printed on June 30, 2021. Call 888-305-0606 or go to WIN-Magazine.com to subscribe to WIN-Magazine, which is in its 27th year as a national wrestling magazine.